H-1B Employer to pay fine and $2.25M in back wages for benching and underpaying H-1B workers

(11/29/2005) – Southfield, Mich.- based IT services company Computech Corp. will pay $2.65 million in back wages and fines to settle a U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) complaint that it underpaid 232 H-1B workers. It will also be prohibited from participating in the H-1B visa program for 18 months under an agreement announced last week by the DOL.

Computech was formed in 1996, and the settlement covers violations alleged to have occurred between 1998 and 2000.

Within two years of its founding, the company had brought on more than 200 foreign workers. The company failed to pay these workers minimum required wage rates and frequently benched workers, the DOL said in a statement. Benching refers to the practice of not paying workers in between contracting jobs.

A DOL spokesman stated that the settlement may well be the largest back wage payment ordered under the H-1B sanctions program.

Computech’s president, Ram Kancharla stated that the company today has about 400 to 500 employees.  He said the company is less dependent on H-1B workers today, but in 1998, there was a shortage of workers with the technology skills in Java- and Web-related work. The company handles ERP implementations, application support and development, and remote database management.  It conducts work in India and the U.S. and has more than 200 employees based in the U.S.

“The Department of Labor aggressively enforces the law to ensure that temporary foreign workers are compensated fully and fairly,” Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao said in a statement. “Abuse of the temporary foreign worker program is not tolerated and violators, as this case shows, are vigorously pursued.”

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